“The end comes… And then drums, drums in the deep…
I wonder what that means… They are coming” – JRR Tolkien
The drums reverberate through the Land. A steady pulse surges up through the layers of trodden mud and Sun-baked bricks, rising up through the levels of the place where ‘the heavens and the underworld mingle’, and through bare, un-sandaled feet. Felt within the soul. Setting the body a-shudder. The torch’s descent along the darkened passageways and cavernous vaulted halls has been made. The clean clothes have been removed; the fresh scent has no place here. To the accompaniment of rustling feathers, the pit has been filled, the herbs scattered and the wine spilt. The Shadowy Ones have been called forth. Our Ancestors who lay beneath the loam, speak. Speak in vision and dream. Their language cannot be learned, but it is felt. Felt in our bones and in our blood; within our soul. What made them, made us. We are created from the dirt beneath our feet, and we shall return to it. We have done so before, we will do so again. Some patterns were meant to be repeated. Age after age, aeon after aeon, until the end of time itself.
The Gods of the Deep return at times to join with their kin in convocation, to relive the old rites, on the desolate, wind-wracked beaches, deep within dank caverns, at the midnight crossroads, upon the damp disturbed earth; old, forgotten places. It’s a reclaiming of souls that have walked this familiar path before, a chaining to Oaths that were made millennia ago; unfinished business. A reconnection of lost souls, that have been fighting their way back together, perhaps since time began. Memories drift back through the ether; our own lost memories, ancestral memories, memories belonging to others. The blood remembers. The soul never forgets.
When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when grey cities reared to smoky skies tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the Sun or of Spring’s flowering meads; when learning stripped the Earth of her mantle of beauty and poets sang no more of twisted phantoms seen with bleared and inward looking eyes; when these things had come to pass, and childish hopes had gone forever, there was a man who traveled out of life on a quest into spaces whither the world’s dreams had fled.
We may find ourselves walking paths we could never have anticipated in our wildest of dreams, and embarking on a journey which requires us to take a long hard look at our preconceptions and beliefs, which are more a result of years of social and religious conditioning than anything else. What may seem blasphemous to some, we will find familiar and right, comforting to a certain extent, as we have been here before; long before the dogma of a monotheistic age took hold of our consciousness. How deep this conditioning runs. Morals and standards of right and wrong, good and evil have been metered by this system for hundreds and hundreds of years. The Shadowy Ones are the driving force behind the antinomian impulses that lead us on the dark alchemical path of evolution towards the within; the pursuit of self-salvation. They are the fierce winds of change that lead us away from the passive acceptance of our social norms, imposed order, inherited misconceptions and conditioning, which can lead to stagnation in our spiritual lives. Tamed and repressed we have become; a slave to our own minds. Here we are longing for harmony and pining for freedom, but freedom always comes at a price. How much are you willing to pay? How far are you willing to travel? How deep can you go? How much work are you willing to put in to see your return come to fruition?
The Divine Madness. The Overshadowing. The Indwellers. The Ensnaring. The Singing of the Muses. Try as we may, we cannot ever attempt to fully describe the feeling we get when standing in the shadow of Those we learn from, when realizations filter down to us that are deeper than our own thoughts, or smack us clear in the face as the case may be. The feeling of knowing that surpasses a gut feeling or even mere intuition – a complete certainty that may be clarified only through ongoing research and study, or by the reports of others who have experienced the same thing (having your UPG shared with another is truly a wonderful thing) – which has entered our consciousness, independently, by other means. Some of these things may never be clarified at all, but after a while a trust is built, the feeling of knowing will be easily distinguishable from idle thoughts and fancies. It comes from somewhere deeper. An opening inward is needed. Inward and beyond. Via Sinistra. Down and deep. Into the dark hidden earth, beneath the raging waves.
Their presence is heralded by certain feelings, this may change from person to person (or contact to contact), and as you journey along your path you’ll come to recognize the distinct emotions, physical feelings, even certain sounds or smells (that have no real way of being there) that They bring when They are around. They are the voices echoing, unrecognizable and indistinguishable, on the edges of sleep. They appear in fleeting, earthless moments, as hungry ghosts and specters, and move as They once did, with agendas of their own, on old familiar ground, in and out of time. Is it the pulse of the present, or the cold scroll of Time recoiling in on itself, that causes the dead years to once again obtain a voice?
Of the name and abode of this man little is written, for they were of the waking world only; yet it is said that both were obscure. It is enough to say that he dwelt in a city of high walls where sterile twilight reigned, that he toiled all day among shadow and turmoil, coming home at evening to a room whose one window opened not to open fields and groves, but on to a dim court where other windows stared in dull despair. From that casement one might see only walls and windows, except sometimes when one leaned so far out and peered at the small stars that passed. And because mere walls and windows must soon drive a man to madness who dreams and reads much, the dweller in that room used night after night to lean out and peer aloft to glimpse some fragment of things beyond the waking world and the tall cities.
Contact doesn’t have to be passed along, or inherited in unbroken lines of tradition, physical interaction is not always needed. We all know that whatever we do, esoterically, sends out unseen ripples for unseen eyes. Those ripples run swift in widening darkened rings, as if over gooseflesh waters, to where They wait and watch for recognizable tremors; though the drowned stones lie still. If you have been ensnared by Them before, They will remember. You stand out like a bright beacon in the gloom; something for Them to set their bearings by. Their memory is eternal, and can be traced back to a time before time, They were part of the primordial soup from which we arose. Only part, as a balance must always be struck. The quick and the dead move in, their shapes flicker in the shadows, their voices that throng the mind sing now at a maddening pitch; there are times when the mundane world seems to have no substance and They are most tangible. Lost in a reverie and pulled into waking dream, we wander in a half-trance. Lost. Or maybe finally found again.
Some of us will assign a deity to Them in order to make head or tail of the situations we find ourselves in, especially if they talk in certain symbols. Many of you that have read my previous blog, or know me personally, will know that I am a Polytheist. Perhaps not as hard a one as I used to be, and I’ve always been pretty soft around the edges, but a Polytheist none-the-less even though my understanding of ‘deity’ has drastically changed. As Peter J Carroll observed, “It is man who creates gods not vice versa”. I have reassessed my personal beliefs, and have stepped outside of my comfort zone in order to grow; to trace (or perhaps retrace) a path that has opened up in front of me. I have set out on a journey which seems to have been waiting for me as long as I can remember. A pull here. A nudge there. A reopening of old links. A reconnection. Descending into the heart of Darkness to where ancient knowledge and enlightenment lay, to carve away the layers of my Self and release the Divine Spark within, which mankind has ceased to remember. Fueled by my hopes and desires, and by dancing through dreams in which flitter the deepest of visions. I am deliciously entranced by its choreography, which weaves and wefts its way on its lunar current. It makes my heart race. I am excited by it. I am scared by it.
After years he began to call the slow sailing stars by name, and to follow them in fancy when they glided regretfully out of sight; till at length his vision opened to many secret vistas whose existence no common eye suspected. And one night a mighty gulf was bridged, and the dream haunted skies swelled down to the lonely watcher’s window to merge with the close air of his room and to make him a part of their fabulous wonder. There came to that room wild streams of violet midnight glittering with dust of gold, vortices of dust and fire, swirling out of the ultimate spaces and heavy perfumes from beyond the worlds. Opiate oceans poured there, litten by suns that the eye may never behold and having in their whirlpools strange dolphins and sea-nymphs of unrememberable depths. Noiseless infinity eddied around the dreamer and wafted him away without touching the body that leaned stiffly from the lonely window; and for days not counted in men’s calendars the tides of far spheres that bore him gently to join the course of other cycles that tenderly left him sleeping on a green sunrise shore; a green shore fragrant with lotus blossoms and starred by red camalotes.
Text – Sarah-Jayne Farrer
“The Indwelling Fire” & “Di Inferi” © Matt Baldwin-Ives (http://milescross.co.uk/)
“Via Sinistra” © Sarah-Jayne Farrer
Excerpts throughout – Azathoth by H.P. Lovecraft